While I find some of the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman‘s films tiresome, I’m always amazed by his capacity to write with light, how he frames a shot and captures an image.
When his movies are good, however, they are brilliant. I recently recounted how Fanny and Alexander moved me. I also find his films Wild Strawberries and Through a Glass Darkly while not as powerful at that flick, they remain meaningful meditations on our relationships to each other and to what lies beyond (or within).
Well, it turns out he wasn’t just a great filmmaker, he also was a champion of freedom, standing up to Swedish authorities who overtaxed him. When they arrested him for tax evasion,
. . . the director ripped the ever-expanding Swedish government bureaucracy which, he wrote in a letter to the newspaper Expressen, “grows like a galloping cancer” and very publicly decided to abandon the country for West Germany. . . . As one of his Swedish biographers noted, the Social Democratic press campaign against the director lasted into the late 1980s, after he had returned from exile.
It is possible some brave researcher will one day investigate just how much damage was done to our cultural life by the 1968 movement…Today, frustrated revolutionaries still…do not see (and how could they!) that their contribution was a deadly slashing blow at an evolution that must never be separated from its roots. In other countries where varied ideas are allowed to flourish at the same time, tradition and education were not destroyed. Only in China and Sweden were artists and teachers scorned…
Guess it’s time to update my Netflix queue. And to scoop up a few copies of that book to share with my liberal film-loving friends.